By Morgan Mitchell

With the London Marathon taking place next month, many running enthusiasts are upping their training regimen to prepare for completing the monumental feat. Finishing a marathon requires strength, resilience, and determination, who better to dish out expert tips to get prepared than Olympian track star Morgan Mitchell.

  1. Stay patient

Since moving up to competing in the 800m event from the 400m, I’ve learnt that these things take time. There are various different speed sessions that help, and all depend on the distance: for short sprints, my favorite was something like 3x30m, 3x60m and 3x80m. All with full recovery. Another favorite is a little longer: 4x120m with full recovery.

  1. Think outside of the training box

Swimming helps with my breathing a lot. I also love to box! That’s where I will top up on lactic work if I need to – it’s so underrated. Strength training is always a good one as it helps prevent injury and can also assist with speed and power. I also play one-on-one basketball with my sisters – we’re super competitive and I won’t leave until I’m satisfied!

  1. Fuel your body

For me, getting in the right food after a session is extremely important. If I don’t have time to go out for brunch at a cafe, I’ll bring along snacks such as peanut butter and chocolate dates or a healthy smoothie (often with nothing but green veggies, to make sure my iron intake is up). I’m vegan so nutrition-wise, I mainly focus on getting iron and protein in. Almost all my meals include spinach and kale. For protein, I love tofu – I can eat it raw so if I need to do that, then so be it! For runners who eat a plant-based diet, I’d recommend seeing a dietician. When I first started eating plant based, I was so lost and getting professional help really set me on the right path.

  1. Mix up your motivation

     

I set goals and rewards along the way, from online shopping or having a meal with friends after a session if I run well, or qualify for the Olympics of course! Also, having a running buddy helps keep me motivated. Doing long runs with a group or even one person takes your mind off the hard part. I’ve also recently kept a diary where I document my training and feelings/ mood for that week. Reflecting on that after the season is really eye opening, and it’s nice to see how far you’ve come.

  1. Stay mindful

When I’m running, I really try to focus on my breathing and putting my attention on what my body is doing – relaxing my shoulders, keeping my body in line, and so on. That helps me to not become sidetracked by what my competitors are doing, because that’s where panic comes from. It’s something I have to practice every day but, honestly, when I get it right, it’s the best feeling. That’s when I usually race and train at my best.

  1. Call in the pros

Without my coaches, sports psychologist, dietitian, and physio all helping, I probably wouldn’t be competing on the world stage. Find a recreational coach or club to join, or just email and ask people for advice. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no! I love my coach – she genuinely wants to help athletes of all levels, whether you’re training for the local park run, the Marathon or the Olympics.

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